Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wreaths for Astronauts (and other service members)

One thing I make certain I block time to participate to do is Wreaths Across America. After I donate wreaths to several locations, of course. This year, they offered donations to Cooch's Bridge, the location of the only Revolutionary Battle fought in Delaware, as well as the location of Revolutionary veteran graves. I leapt at the chance. So that means I have to get up there soon to see it.

But the sight of people from all walks of life coming together at a national landmark is both sobering and heartwarming. It's extremely emotional, and I always have tears in my eyes.

(Tears can also be there when your friends fail to show up to help, or other "friends" don't even try to meet up with you while they're there because they see it as a social outing and apparently shy = antisocial, but hey LET'S NOT TALK ABOUT THAT.)

I got to spend the entire morning by myself. No talking, other than taking an acquaintance who is in CAP some hot chocolate first thing when I arrived. Arlington is a great place for introspection.

For more photos, check out my fb album.

German soldiers came to volunteer

Something you have to see yourself

through adversity, to the stars

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Saturn's North Pole is Cool

Motion Image courtesy NASA JPL
I'm recovering from being incredibly sick, but this is too good to NOT blog about.
Right now (as in, 3:50 p.m. December 4, 2013) members of the Cassini team are holding a g+ hangout about this, along with the Day the Earth Smiled.
This false-color imaging from NASA's Cassini shows a six-sided jet stream that creates and maintains the beautiful Hexagon of the north pole. It shows wavelengths from IR all the way to UV. Trippy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Out Of This World Ornaments

I feel bad, because I have long ago lost the link to the craft site that shows how to make these.
I will keep looking, so I can give that person full credit. They deserve it!

But, I thought the idea was amazing, simple, easy to remember, and inexpensive, so I decided to make it this year's holiday ornament.

All you do is buy clear glass bulbs, pour floor wax in them to coat, then shake different glitter colors in them. Neat. This is a bad photo, and I'll post more once they're dry, but they really do look like nebulae!!

UPDATE: I was able to find two sites that do something similar, but not exactly the nebular desing I was looking for. Instead of pouring all one color in, you dash multipe colors in. They are both good tutorials, though, and you can see how easy they are to make. You can find them here and here.

I'm not blogging step-by-step, because this isn't a craft blog.

This is a space blog.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fake Response Letter Is FAKE

Okay, guys. Sometimes, people forge some fairly high quality items. What I'm posting below is certainly not among them.

This guy, @JamieDMZ on twitter (because, twitter) has passed off onto too many gullible people, this letter, saying "NASA wrote back to me."

Come on, guys
Thank goodness NASA is good at twittering, because they responded to the guy with this tweet:

We could go into details why it's fake, but it should be obvious just by reading it (if you overlooked the gargantuan meatball logo and lack of agency contact information, which no real state or federal office would use as letterhead).

Further, Jason Townsend, one of the social media gurus at NASA, and all-around awesome guy, provided this link which shows what a REAL letter from NASA looks like (as if we didn't already, from all the lovely Instagrams of Astronaut Candidate Selection Rejection Letters over the summer).

Friday, November 22, 2013

#SuitedForSpace - Literally

Let's start out with something fun, shall we?
Yesterday, I attended the Suited for Space open discussion at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. I had already been a member of Air & Space's Social event in July before the traveling exhibit opened (I'll blog on that later), but you can never learn enough about the space suit!!

I met up with a couple of fellow Space Tweeps and, following a group photo with astronaut Chris Cassidy (aka "Stone Cold Cutie"), we headed up to gallery 211, where we could get up close and personal with some of the suit components.

I submit that what ensued should surely go down in space geek history.

Retired Astronaut Don Thomas brought for show-and-tell a Russian pressure suit, or Sokol. Joe wanted to get in it desperately. In the end he won, and Don obligingly helped him into it, acting as a suit technician.

We thought at the time it was a backup or mockup, but as he was helping Joe into the suit, Don told us that this Sokol was actually flown in space! It was worn by Michael Foale during Expedition 8 - WOW!

When Joe was completely suited up, strangers inundated him with requests to have their photo taken with him. It's not everyday you get to have your photo taken with a cosmonaut (real or impersonating)! Space suits - as well as pressure suits - are neat.

Below are just a couple of the pictures I took.

Just put one. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other.
Where does my head go?

"The Russians have this sophisticated system of rubber banding"

The Astro Fonz

Shall We Dance?

Like any good astronaut, Joey knows how to effectively sign paperwork while suited up